Archives For Money

By Eric on November 18, 2014 3

Fear of money can be a dangerous thing. I’ve experienced this firsthand the past few months. Launching out into a business whithout paid benefits, vacation, or health insurance adds a layer of complexity to our lives that we tried our best to prepare for. And even after getting all of that settled into our budget, let’s be honest, it’s scary not knowing what your paycheck will be every month.

One of the ways fear has creeped into our household has been a lack of communication. I’ve been so focused on growing and learning how to be my own boss that unfortunately I’ve done a poor job of keeping in touch with my wife on a day-to-day basis. (Excuses, I know! but that’s reality right now)

And at the end of the day we both get home with about 10% energy left in our tanks, and that goes toward figuring out what’s for supper and spending time with Rooney. And when she goes to bed, we sit down and realize how little we have left for each other.

Fear creeps in as we start thinking about the things coming up in the next month we’ll have to pay for, and wondering where and how that income is coming in the door.

The crazy thing is that we knew it would be this way before we got into it. We prepped, planned, and talked about it, but didn’t really have a clue until we started doing it.

Planning is good, but living it out is the real deal. We’re learning things we couldn’t have ever learned by “planning.” Same is true with parenting. We had no idea until we were in the thick of it how challenging parenting would be. But, we’ve learned and we’ve grown from it.

Let’s combine both problems… the other night we were laying in bed around 8 PM (Yup, we were exhausted!) and talking about our budget and how we thought December was going to shake out. Well, the whole situation ended in tears because Kelsey wants Rooney to attend preschool next fall, but that requires a deposit to hold her spot.

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By Eric on November 11, 2014 2

One common question I get from people trying to create a budget for the first time, is “how many budget categories do I need?” A great question for sure, but I also think it’s the wrong question to be asking.

Short answer: As many as it takes…

On the budget spreadsheet you get for signing up for updates there are 79 sub-categories and 11 main categories.

Budget Categories for budget spreadsheet


Why so many budget categories?

When you first create a budget, the hardest part is making sure you’ve got all possible expenses covered, lest you forget something that throws a wrench in your budget during the middle of the month. You want to be proactive with creating a budget every month, instead of just tracking your expenses and trying to reverse engineer your spending.

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By Eric on November 4, 2014 +

Budgeting, saving, investing, getting a good deal, minimizing risk, and paying off debt are all big pieces to your personal finance puzzle. Together they help paint part of a picture where you are today. They are all good and should be on our to-do (or doing) list, right?

But how often do you stop and think about where you are headed?

In the muddy waters of today, we tend to lose sight of the grander vision. The horizon becomes blurry and we’re not sure if we’re even headed in the right direction anymore.

We were caught in that mess a few years ago. Spending all that we had, but just barely treading water. We had good paying jobs and nothing to show for it. Hardly any savings, and a bunch of debt.

The solution for us came in a two-part formula: Create a plan, and follow the plan.

Sounds simpler than it really is…

Creating a Plan

We couldn’t create a plan, because we didn’t know how. We were paralyzed because we didn’t know where we were going or what we should be doing. We were lost and didn’t’ know which way was North. We not only needed a map, but we needed a compass to get us pointed in the right direction.

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By Eric on October 23, 2014 7

I almost added “a used car” to the end of the title, but I think the title works as is. My point being that it doesn’t matter if you drive a used car or a new car, driving in general assumes some risk. If there weren’t risks with driving, you wouldn’t need insurance, right?

Anyway, We’ve been faced with a challenge this past weekend when I tried to leave the office last Friday evening and my car wouldn’t start. She’s a 1998 Grand Prix with about 151,000 miles. Every time I tell someone who knows something about cars that I drive a 1998 Grand Prix, they say “oh man! That engine will run forever!” Yup… if you can get it started…

Fixing the Car

By the grace of God, I was able to get it running after about 25 minutes of fighting, slamming my head against the steering wheel, and praying that it would start. Well, it did, but at the same time all the dashboard lights, brake lights, and parking lights were flashing.

Nevertheless, I made it home with the lights flashing, but once in the garage, couldn’t get it started again, and with the key out of the ignition… all the lights were still flashing.

I then spent all day Saturday trying to figure out what in the world was wrong with my baby (I’ve been driving it for over a decade now…. we go waaaay back!).

I won’t tell you the whole story, mostly because at this moment, it’s still un-written (It’s still sitting in the garage and won’t start). But, there are some key lessons in vehicle ownership, car maintenance and vehicle purchasing that can be learned from this inconvenient scenario.

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By Eric on October 14, 2014 3

My daughter is a very deep thinker, she’s cautious, and she loves routine. When Rooney has the opportunity to try something new, she first observes. I love this about her. She’s just like her Mamma. It’s not necessarily a strength of mine, so it makes for a nice balance in our house.


So, when we visit places like the Heritage Carousel of Des Moines, it can be challenging on both ends. It’s challenging as parents to drive across the city to provide your daughter with a fun experience, only to have her stare at it.

This happened at the Iowa State Fair this year. She went down the Giant Slide once with Kelsey (proof below), so the next time we went, we doubled down and bought two tickets for the slide, and she refused to go…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset(Kelsey and Rooney are half way down the slide on the very right edge)

And it’s challenging on the other end, when she finally gives it a try, falls in love with it and never wants it to end.

Once Rooney figures something out, or takes a calculated risk and likes what she is doing, she’s all in. Focused on mastering that task, and repeating the behavior, over, and over, and over, and over again.

When she finally gets to that “a ha!” moment, my heart melts. She’s got it! She’s doing it! She’s loving it! I couldn’t be prouder.

This is how habits are formed as well, by repetition.

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